Fight cancer with Zumba

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Get ready for a dance battle — against cancer!

“Fight Back with Fitness Day” gives kids and adults across the borough a chance to move and groove while raising money for cancer charities on Jan. 11.

The third-annual Relay for Life Zumbathon — held this year at the St. Bernard Clairvaux Parish in Bergen Beach — will put locals alongside Bay Ridgites and Williamsburgers for the charity’s biggest collaboration ever, according to an organizer.

“This now is turning into an event beyond our own borders,” said Joe “Zumba Daddy” Gillette, adding that all skill-levels are encouraged to participate. “There is no strict form for what you have to do — everyone kind of does what they want to do.”

The Zumbathon will have two heats — a 45-minute rapid round for kids and a two-hour sweat session for adults. This year is the first time the kids will be showing off their steps in their own timeslot, said Gillette — and he said the youngsters are going to steal the show from the aerobic adults.

“I’m a little bit more excited about the kids this year than the adults — don’t tell the adults,” he said. “When the kids get out there and they hear the songs they’re familiar with, they go nuts.”

After the kids and adults finish dancing, Gillette said the crowd is invited to join a yoga cool-down session — and if participants are still stiff, they can relax with an on-site massage.

But the afternoon isn’t just a fitness frenzy. Gillette said the day is really about coming together to raise awareness about cancer — and he quoted a young boy he met at last year’s Zumbathon to sum up the altruistic event.

“He said, ‘Mister, I’m dancing today to cure cancer,’ ” said Gillette. “Simple concept, powerful message.”

“Fight Back with Fitness Day” at the St. Bernard Clairvaux Parish in Bergen Beach [2055 E. 69th St. between Veterans Avenue and Avenue U, (718) 763–5533]. Jan. 11 at 1 pm for kids and 2 pm for adults. Registration at noon. $10 for kids, $15 for adults.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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